Friday, February 01, 2008

God be in my sleep, and in my waking

I had another calling-dream, last night. I got a string of them last fall, but hadn’t had one in awhile. My usual dreams, when I remember them, are surreal, disconnected shreds of images. This one was clear as could be. When it happens, you know.

I wrote this all out, this morning, and held off on posting it. Some people read this, who may influence my next steps. I don't want to cause them to fear for me. But I've shared this with a couple of friends, and been affirmed for it. I've taken that as encouragement that my fears will be unfounded. I don't even mean to be "thinking outside of the box," but I believe that my ministry will be. I think I'm sharing this publicly, to keep myself accountable. If it resonates with other people's stories, dreams, and longings, that may help them on their own paths, also.

In the dream, I was either working, or heavily invested, in a large, established parish in Virginia. (Why Virginia? I guess because it says “establishment” to me. My mother’s family is from there.) I was part of a leadership circle, but I don’t know exactly what my role was. I was with a group of people standing outside. Some others were in the building.

I was standing on the steps, watching a locksmith change the lock on the front door. He was installing the largest latch I’d ever seen, about as big as my hand. It was a heavy, dull-brass colored metal, visibly obvious; you couldn’t miss it. And we weren’t going to be given keys.

Church politics played no part in this. The building wasn’t sold or litigated. We weren’t exiled in any emotional sense; no one was taking our home away. But it was clearly not our home, anymore. I remember mentally blessing the locksmith as he did this. I can’t recall the exact words spoken to us, but I know that we were sent forth in joy. The message was clear: “Go out into the world.”

My best friend is visiting, for a conference at CDSP. We’ve been talking a lot, about how NOLA changed and redefined things for me, and what I feel called to do. I’ve expressed doubts about whether I’m called into parish ministry—but I still absolutely want to feed people, and to bless, baptize, and absolve them. I’m not Anglo-Catholic by any stretch (though a friend who is, questioned that), but I am deeply sacramental. And I do feel called to live that ministry.

I don’t have any sacramental authority, and I won’t until the church blesses that in me. But I know exactly what I’d be doing right now, if I did: I’d be out on Claiborne Avenue, under I-10, celebrating Eucharist with the homeless people camped there. I’d find some friends, and do the same thing in soup kitchens, and in rough neighborhoods, and in neighborhoods struggling to come back. We’d be feeding people, and blessing community, in the places one would least expect to find God. These are the people who need that love most.

There’s nothing wrong with material wealth. All of us need God’s love. I’m not writing this to judge anyone. Many people I know give very generously, and responsibly. I respect them very much for that. I’m glad that they have it, to give. And I know that God is, at all times and in all places, including a church building. My own community has been fantastic to me and for me. I believe in that absolutely, and I’m grateful for them. I’ll do field ed in a parish context, and I’ll learn a lot, and build relationships, and love it. I may be called to that work, also. But I believe that my deepest calling is to go out and find those who need to be found, and to bring awareness of the presence of God to places where people have stopped looking. That’s what I wish I could be doing, right now.

I wonder if there are ways that I can.

4 comments:

FranIAm said...

Dearest Kirstin - our sister in Christ.

I say our because you are so much of God in the world and part of all of us, hence the collective our. You are truly a gift from God.

Thank you for sharing not only your journey, but your numinous dream with us. I find it very moving and I will hold you and your dream in my prayers, as always.

Kirstin said...

Thank you, Fran. We are all gifts of God. The Body of Christ is all of us.

Thank you for your prayers. You are also in mine.

FranIAm said...

Yes we all are- common union.

Peace unto all!

Thanks for the prayers- very much.

Apostle In Exile said...

Check out this from Saturday's Weekend America show: http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/02/01/sleepdep/

It would seem even the dream experts are validating your dream's conclusions!